Mini-Vacation: A local’s guide to favourite activities in Old Montréal


Birthplace of the late-great poet, singer and songwriter, Leonard Cohen, and home to the largest contemporary circus producer in the world, Cirque du Soleil, Montreal is a robust city filled with a plethora of attractions and landmarks, an amazing art scene, and a unique character that makes it one of the top destination for tourists and locals to revel in its vibrancy.  We’d like you to discover this amazing city and we’re ready to be your research helpers.

Nestled within the city, and known as one of the most popular and visited sites in Canada, lies the Old Port of Montreal.  Geographically, this destination is located between Old Montreal and the St. Lawrence River and gives visitors access to the harbourfront and a diverse range of activities.

A historic site with roots dating back to the 1600s, the Old Port of Montreal continues to be developed and revitalized, thanks in large part to Canada Lands Company, the self-financing, federal Crown corporation that specializes in real estate development and attractions management.  Responsible for overseeing the Old Port of Montreal since 2012, Canada Lands Company constantly works to invest in operations and site enhancements to create memorable experiences for guests and visitors.

Today, the Old Port of Montreal appeals to both local residents and tourists.  From bike rides along the river, ice skating, to a visit to the Science Centre, the area is an ideal spot for families and couples who need a break from the hustle and bustle of life.

Regardless of your itinerary, the Old Port Montreal is the perfect destination for a few days reprieve.  From relaxation to adventure-seeking activities, there’s nothing like diving into all of the things it has to offer.

Read on to find a list of attractions that every Montrealer and hopeful visitors can experience while on vacation.

Montreal Science Centre

Located in the heart of the Old Port of Montreal, the Montreal Science Centre is a first-choice destination for many visitors. 

A space devoted to science and technology, the Science Centre is most notable for its exhibits and interactive environment. With five permanent exhibition rooms and featured temporary exhibitions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and learn.  From February 15th to September 7th, for example, visitors can walk through the Journey to Space exhibit, a full-size replica of the International Space Station and get a first-hand feel for weightlessness.  Kids also have the opportunity to control a robot arm, launch a rocket and even get a glimpse of life on Mars. 

Another notable exhibit is the Fabrik Creativity Factory, where visitors can take on creative challenges using a variety of items like string, wood, tubes, wheels and much more.  Working alone or in teams, people of all ages can envision technological solutions and build them from the different odds and ends provided. 

One of the favourite destinations in Old Montreal is the IMAX TELUS Theatre

Located inside the Science Centre is the IMAX ®TELUS Theatre, where you can explore the world with award-winning documentaries from a seven-storey high giant screen and state-of-the-art sound system. This summer, visitors will have the opportunity to dive into the world of a rare Australian sea lion pup and meet the people who try to save the species in the remarkable movie Sea Lions 3D at one of Canada’s most popular IMAX venues.

Clock Tower Beach, Clock Tower and Skating Rink

There are activities for every season at the Old Port of Montreal. In the summer, take a walk to Clock Tower Beach, which is located a short distance from the historical district. The area’s urban beach offers a vacation atmosphere with its fine sand, chairs, parasols and refreshing mist. From firework competitions to cultural festivals, food fairs and sporting events, each summer weekend offers programing that caters to diverse interests and palates.

If it’s architecture that you love, you can visit the Clock Tower, which welcomes visitors at the entrance of Old Port of Montreal. Over the years it has served several roles: to honour the memory of lost sailors, to mark the entrance to the port, and, of course, to indicate the time!

In the winter season, the ice rink provides a beautiful view of the city while you and your family or partner skate on the refrigerated outdoor rink.

Notable Mentions

After you’ve spent your day and night exploring the Science Centre or visiting some of the other mentioned attractions, there’s still enough on our long list of favourite attractions to check out.  If relaxation is your forte, you may want to visit spa-sur-l’eau Bota Bota for a calming massage or facial.  For breathtaking views, a trip to the La Grande Roue de Montreal wheel will allow you to feast your eyes on a limitless panoramic view of the city all four seasons of the year.  There are many free activities to do in and around the area, including recreational activities or checking out the playground with the kids.

No matter how you choose to spend your mini-vacation, one thing is for certain, the Old Port of Montreal is worth every minute!

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